Golfer’s elbow, or medial epicondylitis, is not strictly reserved for golfers, although it is a common injury associated with the sport. It is a broad term for a form of tendonitis experienced in the area where your forearm muscle tendons attach to your elbow. It occurs on the inner side of your elbow and can cause quite a bit of discomfort. The pain spreads to your forearm and sometimes even the wrist in some cases.
Golfer’s Elbow Symptoms
The following are the most common symptoms of Golfer’s Elbow.
Localized Pain & Tenderness
The primary symptoms are tenderness and pain on the inside of the elbow. The pain worsens with specific movements such as curling the forearm or the swinging motion of golf. The pain can occur very suddenly or gradually build up over time.
A stiff elbow and extreme discomfort when making a fist are common symptoms. Sufferers struggle to bend and retract their arms, making most movements with the arm very uncomfortable.
Tingling or numbness in the fingers on the affected arm’s hand can also occur – This usually affects the ring and little finger. While these symptoms pose no serious health threat, they might occasionally be signs of a more sinister problem.
You should consult a medical expert in the following cases.
- When your elbow becomes severely inflamed and hot
- If you experience a fever along with the Golfer’s Elbow symptoms
- When your elbow looks askew or out of shape
- If the pain you experience is unbearable
- When your pain is directly related to a severe fall or accident
Golfer’s Elbow Causes
The cause of the discomfort is damage to both the muscles and tendons that control wrist and finger movements. Most of the time, it’s directly connected to specific repeated movements, specifically forceful wrist and finger movements. For this reason, it’s prevalent with golfers but can also affect other sports people like tennis and basketball players, amongst others.
Golfer’s elbow is often due to insufficient warm ups or incorrect hitting, throwing, or lifting techniques.
Golfer’s Elbow Treatment and Prevention
Golfer’s elbow can limit important and functional movement and, for sports people, can mean quite a bit of time away from their game. Below are a few tips for preventing Golfer’s Elbow.
The best preventative measure is to keep your forearm muscles strong. Of course, you can include this in your gym regime, but simple regular exercises like squeezing a stress ball or lifting light weights can do the trick too.
Warm-ups are vital for all sports and can dramatically reduce your risk of Golfer’s Elbow. Therefore, you should always stretch and perform light warm-up movements before any match or training session.
Another way to prevent Golfer’s Elbow is by checking your form. No matter what sport you play, a significant proportion of muscle and tendon-related injuries are due to using the incorrect stance, form, or movement. Use a mirror to watch yourself swing your golf club, or video yourself to ensure you are using the correct muscles.
Before treating any type of injury, pain, or symptom, it is important to consult a medical professional to ensure you are getting the treatment that’s best for you and your body. The following are general suggestions that your doctor may or may not recommend for the treatment of Golfer’s Elbow.
Over-the-counter pain relievers work reasonably well on Golfer’s Elbow. Ibuprofen (Advil and Motrin), Naproxen Sodium (Aleve), or Acetaminophen (Tylenol).
As mentioned, if you are suffering from pain during a specific activity, stop the activity immediately! Instead, rest your arm and try to do as little as possible to give the muscles and tendons time to heal.
Ice packs work well to bring down swelling and provide muscular relief.
You can also use a brace to resist movement of the affected area and give it time to heal.
Surgery is very seldom needed, and if you follow the suggested preventative guidelines and treat as necessary, you should have as little trouble from Golfer’s Elbow as possible.
Remember to consult with a medical specialist if your symptoms worsen or your injury presents with other symptoms as previously discussed.
If you or someone you know think you may be showing symptoms of Golfer’s Elbow or another form of tendonitis, always consult a medical professional to find the best treatment plan for you and your body. Looking for an orthopedic physician? Contact the experts at Oasis Hospital.